I think it’s safe to say that we’re all eager for this school year to end, and for the sunny days ahead of us! Portside has big plans for the summer, launching a new series of weekly summer camps. This year, we have eight weeks of camp, each with a different theme! We are expanding our programming to explore various art forms including visual arts, performing arts, and the art of music. Families have the option to sign up for just one week of camp, or as many as they'd like to work with their summer schedules.
Campers will work with a wide range of art materials, and will learn that the term “art” goes beyond just visual arts, and includes all types of creative expression. They will have the chance to make their own stop motion animations, create pinhole cameras, learn about the construction of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, develop their own characters and comics, and so much more! This enriching and multidisciplinary experience will leave your child wanting to learn more.
Campers will be able to experience socialization with other children their age, which many children have been missing over this past school year with virtual schooling. They will have the opportunity to socialize and play with friends during structured free time, while being encouraged to maintain a safe distance from one another to ensure safety.
We are lucky to be so close to Penn Treaty Park, where the children will be able to go multiple times a week. During Nature & Mindfulness week, the children will spend their days at the park where they’ll create environmental art and partake in mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation. We will also bring the children to other outdoor nature areas such as Bartram’s Garden and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We hope to expand our field trip options beyond outdoor areas, but will be complying with current CDC recommendations and guidelines to keep our campers and staff safe.
During this time, the Portside will continue following safety protocols and procedures to keep your kids & Portside’s team safe. These include Air Purification throughout the facility, smaller group sizes, temperature checks upon arrival, extensive cleaning of the facility, and more.
Check out our weekly themes below:
Week 1: Nature & Mindfulness June 21st - June 25th
Week 2: Murals & Public Art June 28th - July 2nd
Week 3: Anime, Comics & Superheroes July 5th - July 9th
Week 4: Photo & Video Arts July 12th - July 16th
Week 5: The Art of Music July 26th - July 30th
Week 6: Art Around the World August 2nd - August 6th
Week 7: Theater Arts August 9th - August 13th
Week 8: The Basics of Sculpture August 16th - August 20th
Portside Arts Center is pleased to announce Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD) has awarded Portside a grant of $20,500 for 2021 programming. This grant will provide scholarships for new and returning students to attend Portside Creative Classroom throughout the remainder of the school year and our Summer Arts Camp beginning in June.
These funds come at a time when many families are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet desperately need childcare during these immensely challenging times. Thanks to PTSSD, families can be partially released of the financial burden that events of this past year may have unexpectedly caused.
The past year has brought about many unprecedented changes and circumstances for families in the River Wards community. With the news of schools in the Philadelphia School District remaining closed indefinitely, families were left with little options regarding childcare and support with virtual learning for their children. Some children are new to school and also the technology requirements for virtual learning purposes. Parents were desperate for a solution that ensures their children are learning and in a safe environment. Many parents had the predicament of choosing to go to work to provide income to their families, or to stay home with their children to help them navigate the new structure of virtual learning.
With the tremendous support from PTSSD, Portside Arts Center is now able to provide a solution to families in the River Wards by introducing Creative Classroom; a daily in-person program where children are assisted with their schoolwork, able to socialize with friends, and instructed in arts education for a portion of each day.
With last year’s funding from PTSSD specifically to go towards children’s scholarships, Portside has been able to award monthly scholarships for 24 children to attend Portside’s Creative Classroom. Going forward into the new year, we now can continue to award families with scholarships, and with plans to expand our programming to River Ward families with limited resources.
PTSSD has shown unwavering support to Portside Arts Center throughout the years. They are a beacon of light in the River Wards community during these dark times and have helped non-profit organizations like Portside improve programming and remain a bright spot in the community.
Portside is honored to welcome comic artist Jeffro Kilpatrick to Cherry Street Pier as our November Artist in Residence! Jeffro is a Fishtown dude through and through, born and raised, and his illustrative work is reflective of his Philadelphia upbringing, and of his life experiences. Jeff creates artwork about the things that are important to him, and has touched on themes such as love, loss, music, and the city that he calls home. The autobiographical nature of his work is what makes it special, and viewers of his work are able to obtain an accurate sense of Jeffro’s vibrant personality.
One thing he is passionate about is of course his lovely wife, Joannie, of whom he has an adorable and expansive collection of artwork dedicated to. “Instead of sending her flowers and stuff, I would send her mail art when we first started dating.” Another passion evident in his work is music. A favorite musician of Jeffro’s, Tom Waits, even became his pen pal at one point after Jeffro sent him some fan art. Waits showed his appreciation with a jar of tomato sauce that he sent to Jeffro for Christmas!
Jeffro is a staple in not just the Portside community where he’s been volunteering and teaching art off and on since 2008, but also in the Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood. Anyone who is familiar with Fishtown has seen his remarkable mural at Frankford & Dauphin Streets. The mural depicts images of local artists, craftsmen, and community members from Fishtown and Kensington’s past and present. Who better to create such a mural than Fishtown’s very own Jeffro?!
In addition to volunteering and teaching at Portside Arts Center, Jeffro has also taught for many years at UArts and Memphis Street Academy in Philadelphia. He co-founded the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society in 1997 and is a longtime member of the Meathaus Comics Collective. In 2015, Jeffro won a SEED grant (Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education), an annual event presented by PhillyCORE Leaders for his Philly Artrepreneurs program.
Join us this Saturday, November 14th for Jeffro’s Second Saturday Show in Studio #12 at Cherry Street Pier. The exhibition will feature original drawings, prints, and comic books of Jeffro's, and will be up throughout the month of November. A percentage of all art sales will benefit the scholarship fund at the Portside Arts Center. Check out his work for sale in Portside’s Online Art Gallery.